December 14, 2009

Monday's Quote

A human being is nothing but a story with skin around it. -- Fred Allen

This quote reminds me that everyone has a story - even the meanest person (which probably influenced why they act the way they do).  Knowing this is helpful for showing compassion.

Sometimes I forget to have a story behind my characters.  Do you sketch your character's backstory before you write?  Or do you discover their story along the way?


  1. I know their backstory. It helps me with their motivation and their goals when I'm outlining.

  2. Sometimes I know their backstory, but other times it develops as I write. I find my characters to seem more real when I know the backstory ahead of time. I also end up having to go back an rewrite quite a bit when I don't know their backstory from the beginning. I know that with my next project, I will be doing character sketches.

  3. I definitely go into the story with some background on characters. Like Jennifer said, it helps me know their motivation. I think they sometimes develop more than you intended as the story unfolds, but that's the magic of writing :)

  4. I usually discover it as I go. I'm never organized enough to know it beforehand. :)

  5. Usually along the way. I'd love to know more, but until it's written, I tend to forget what I think.

  6. Jennifer, I can see how that would help with motivation.
    Shannon, it's one of my favorites.
    Susan, I've done the re-write thing too due to my lack of backstory.
    Voidwalker, that's cool you let them develop and add to your plan.
    Natalie, me either!
    Storyqueen, "I tend to forget what I think" made me laugh out loud. I completely relate!

  7. A little of both. Sometimes I do detailed character sketches...other times...the story just comes to me and I learn about the character as I write.

  8. Good morning, Catherine! I have a little something for you over at my blog today. ;-)


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